For example, did you know that our Councilman Rosendahl regularly commissions $100,000 reports and studies that give him the predetermined conclusions that he wants to appear on paper. I have personally counted around $375,000 in wasteful spending like this from his office – and that’s just at a glance.
Then there’s the Million-Dollar Rent Control Study (commissioned by Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council, carried out by Economic Roundtable) that said we should stop raising rents during the recession. We paid $1 million for that obvious fact. Then, when the City Council didn’t like the outcome, they just voted against it anyway, despite a huge tenant mobilization.
The injury was that they raised rents on low-income tenants and seniors in a recession. The insult is that they spent $1 million of our money so that we could have proof that they did the wrong thing.
This goes on all the time. Do you know how expensive consultants are?
Imagine, all the City Council-people, all the Mayors, all the Senators and so on. Imagine the Governor’s Office. This is the first place to look for waste, because they’re the ones in charge of how the money is spent.
Why can we not invest all that paperwork money – that doesn’t do the people any good – into our schools … into our housing ... our hospitals … our infrastructure – creating the real jobs that we need? Why do we always have to wait for some corporation to bail us out with jobs that we could create ourselves?
That is just the beginning.
Where else can waste be found? Where do we usually find it? Well, if we were talking about D.C., I’d probably say the Pentagon, but locally, I’d say the prisons. At the Los Angeles County Jail, the prisoners get something like three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a day and maybe an apple if they’re lucky – their families have to actually send them money so they can buy goods like phone cards and candy bars, from corporations who own the prison contracts, so the money can’t be going into them.
Still, it cost the taxpayer $40,000 a year to house one prisoner. I bet if you paid each person (and a large portion of our prison population is actually incarcerated for “poverty” related crimes) $20,000 a year as a living stipend, the crime rate would drop dramatically. (I’m not suggesting that as a policy, yet it does illustrate the point well.)
We would need fewer prisons and could then start properly funding our schools, so that our children would have real options to start off life.
And I would immediately start working on a bill to forgive our students their debt. The worst thing to start out life with is this huge debt hanging over our heads.
So how do we bring in revenues for all this? Two BIG places. First, Royalty Tax. California is the only State in the Nation that does not charge royalties to extract oil and other resources from our lands. Something is definitely wrong with that and it’s about time California got on the right page – we’re in a recession, or hasn’t anybody noticed? Everyone’s got to pitch in and do their part, including the ultra-rich and corporations.
If you’ve got my back on this, I’ll get that bill on the table!
And that’s the money we’re going to use to rebuild our infrastructure. Our rail lines are going to be the best on planet earth. And our solar panels are going to be made in Carson and Torrance and San Pedro and not in China.
Another place to find the money is in Section 3 funding. This is money – billions of dollars – allocated from the Federal Government specifically earmarked to create jobs for low-income communities. The money is being spent, yet the jobs are not appearing.
Wendy Gruel, the L.A. City Comptroller – she’s the one who audit’s the city – released her report months ago stating that our money is being spent on things like $7,000 light-bulbs, I kid you not. And in the end everyone said, “Yes, yes. Money is being wasted. But nobody’s to blame.”
California is the 6th richest economy in the world! The entire world. We – here in California – are richer than France – the country.
Let me say that again – richer than France. Yet, the French have free education all the way through university; Universal Healthcare that really works; a 35 hour work week and 8 weeks paid vacation every year. They love their social benefits there and fight to keep them. Perhaps we could learn something from our neighbors across the Atlantic, after all their society has been around a lot longer than ours and they just might know something that we don’t.
As a fiscal conservative, who knows how to live on Shoestring Economics, I know the money for what we need is already there and there’s no need to raise taxes on the average person. It’s just a question of reprioritizing how we spend what we have.
Well, if you elect me, I’ll find out.
And that’s a promise.
Below is an example of just how our money is being wasted. Please remember, you got this information from MARK LIPMAN
What others are saying about the CRA/LA and the City of LA Leadership:
From the San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17097231?nclick_check=1
“The Redevelopment Agency is basically saying that developer profits are more important than schools, public safety, libraries and other core services,” California Professional Firefighters president Lou Paulson said.
Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, condemned the agency's actions in a statement as “needlessly provocative acts of gamesmanship that warp the status quo.”
“Apparently, they don’t think they have a case to make, so they decided to try and create facts on the ground. The Governor’s proposal warrants a serious, thoughtful discussion,” he said.
Article from Ron Kaye: http://ronkayela.com/2011/01/uncivil-disobedience-city-hall.html
Legal Objections Follow Below!
CITY COUNCIL SUPPLEMENTAL AGENDA ITEM 38:
The LA City Council will hear this item on Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011 at City Hall under its Supplemental Agenda Number 38:
The City Council is RUSHING through a transfer of $1 Billion Dollars from Schools, Health Services, Police, and Firefighting in order to transfer it to a preferred non-profit to be used by wealthy development firms and other politically connected companies.
The CRA/LA held a RUSHED Special Meeting on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011 and in record time, they scheduled this item for the full City Council on their next meeting day of Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 BYPASSING the Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee.
No matter what you think of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), it is not right for the City leadership and CRA/LA to bypass all normal procedures and railroad almost 1-Billion Dollars ($930,000,000) of State Property Tax increment funds without any analysis or public/legal scrutiny to a pet non-profit, so that the City of Los Angeles can continue feeding taxpayer funds to wealthy developers and take away funds from schools, police, and firefighters.
That is irresponsible.
The LA Times Article reported on the Friday meeting and quoted the Governor's Response to the CRA/LA action during its illegal meeting:
"...The governor’s office responded to the vote, saying Brown hoped the Community Redevelopment Agency was not planning on "squirreling money away for the indefinite future when our schools, police and firefighters are in need of this funding."
Objections to LA City Council Supplemental Agenda Item 38 for Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, Council File No. 11-0086:
1. Brown Act (Open Meeting Law) Violations:
• The CRA/LA meeting that occurred on Jan. 14, 2011 was invalid and needs to be re-agenized. So the City Council's Jan 18, 2011, Supplemental Agenda Item 38 should be canceled until the CRA/LA meeting is properly noticed under the Brown Act and is re-heard.
• During the CRA/LA meeting additional items were discussed which were not noticed on the posted agenda, including discussion of protecting State Pension Plans for CRA/LA employees.
• The amount of funds involved on the original 24-hour notice were listed as $855,000,000. However, this amount was revised to $930,000,000 and posted AFTER the meeting was held. - One cannot change a posted agenda AFTER the meeting was conducted.
Under “Special Meeting” provision of the Brown Act:
“...The notice should indicate that the meeting is being called as a special meeting, and shall state the time, place, and business to be transacted at the meeting. No other business shall be considered at the special meeting...."
2. State and City Ethics Laws Violations:
CRA/LA Staff members, Management, the CEO and other personnel were involved in preparing the Agenda and CRA report. These persons all have financial conflicts of interest in this matter and should not have participated in the preparation of material or the presentation of that material to the CRA/LA Board of Commissioners.
The CEO of the CRA/LA did not properly recuse herself.
3. Rushed Process in Haste, by-passing Public, Financial, and Legal Scrutiny:
The leadership of Los Angeles with the full knowledge of City Council members and the Mayor is RUSHING and bypassing the normal orderly process in an apparent attempt to shield State Property Tax Increment funds from the State of California without any thought, legal, or financial analysis - This is a dereliction of their legal, ethical, and fiduciary obligations to the public.
Instead of agendizing this for the next regular meeting of the CRA/LA on Jan 20, 2011, a Special Meeting was held on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011 with barely 24-hours notice. The CRA/LA was so rushed to the point that reports were incomplete and being revised during and after the meeting and then posted AFTER the meeting.
The normal process of sending this item to the Housing and Economic Development Committee was bypassed and this was RUSHED directly to the City Council’s next meeting of Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011.
4. Additional Conflicts of Interests:
If the City of LA and the CRA/LA are truly two different entities, then why is the City Attorney representing both parties of this proposed agreement?
Also the Mayor of LA appoints the CRA/LA Commissioners who are also confirmed by the City Council.
To add insult to injury, see where CRA plans to use that money:
And look at what else the LA Times says ... see where they found the spending waste too!
THE SHOOTING STAR
Once upon a time there was a shooting star. And this shooting star was very happy, because when he passed the sky at night he could see all the lovers gazing up at him in wonder. But then one night, when he was shining in all his glory, he heard a whisper from way, way far below on earth and what he heard terrified him, because someone had pointed up at him in the sky and said that he wasn’t a star at all, but a meteorite.
“A meteorite!” he shrieked within himself. “How horrible!” How could it be that he was merely a meteorite? And as he listened to the voices below he began to discover.
“You see,” continued the whisper, “when a meteorite passes close to the earth some particles break off and burn up in the atmosphere and that is what we see.”
“What a tragic ending!” thought the meteorite in shame. A star, is the greatest creature in the universe – it gives warmth and light. Without the stars nothing could live. To be degraded to just a meteorite in a second’s time – and not even that, but just a piece – just a fragment – dust – that’s what he was – just the dust off a meteorite – it was more than he could bare ... but then, just as he reached his deepest despair, another, much softer, much sweeter voice rose up into the air, “Oh look, a shooting star,” said the voice. “How beautiful it is.”
And with that his heart beat just a bit faster and he chanced a glance downward to see where those words had come from and at that very moment he spied the lovers’ kiss. And with that he raced across the sky in a fiery red.
Just dust he may be – but that, that is what dreams are made of.